I love my Sundays, but I wish it were Monday.
That’s how anxious I am to see the Canadiens play the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.
Last night’s 7-4 thumping of Boston was hugely entertaining. But as the ever-astute J.T. points out, the Bruins are the Canadiens’ bitches (as, sadly, the Canadiens are often Toronto’s.)
What it came down to was team speed, which the Bruins couldn’t handle, and a very encouraging manifestation of huge, clanking brass ones.
When Claude Julien saw his team falling out of the game and decided to turn the game into Lachine vs. Ahuntsic, circa 1963, the allegedly soft and undersized Canadiens didn’t flinch or give an inch.
Did you see Josh Gorges drop his gloves and go after the hulking Jeremy Reich? Francis Bouillon jumped in and took over, but not because my man Josh begged him to. You don’t become captain of the Kelowna Rocket in the rock ’em, sock ’em WHL if you’re a pussy.
The Canadiens lost every fight, but they won the game and they won the respect of each other – the latest example of a band-of-brothers esprit de corps that seems to reign in the room this year.
• Man of the Match: Steve "I’m in Your Face, Whaddaya Gonna Do About It, Ya Big Ugly P–k?" Bégin.
His smiling agit-prop took Zdeno Chara off his game and, ultimately, out of the game.
Dany Dubé of CKAC said later that Chara has size and a great shot, but given a choice between the two, he’d take Andrei Markov.
I agree. Markov played 28 minutes last night. He quarterbacked the PP, skated and passed the puck out of danger inhis own end and had two assists – including the pass that sent Tomas Plekanec away and ended with that highlight-reel goal by Andrei Kostitsyn.
• Michael Ryder played his best game of the season. 13 shots, for cryin’ out loud! That’s a good week for Tom Kostopoulos. Ryder also had two assists and three hits.
So is he back? We’ll see against the Senators … and we’ll hope Christopher Higgins is able to join him.
• I think Guillaume Latendresse just might find his game on the fourth line. He’ll asorb the work ethic of Tom the Bomb and benefit from the rapidly-emerging playmaking skills of Kyle Chipchura. Guy! Guy! Guy! had a goal last night, jumped into it with Chara after the big lug gave Kovy a head shot and managed to survive the ensuing fight.
• Carey Price was as good as he had to be. Mishandled the puck a couple of times but he didn’t give up any bad goals and made big saves while the Bruins were still in it. I’d start him against Ottawa, but Carbo probably will come back with Huet.
• And as Bruce Springsteen says when he’s about to introduce Clarence Clemons, last but certainly not least: The Flying Euros
It’s been too long since the Canadiens have had a line like Plekanec-Kovalev-Kostitsyn. The last I can remember was Doug Gilmour centring Oleg Petrov and Richard Zednik.
You can feel electricity coursing through the Bell Centre crowd when Pleks and the super Ks are on the ice.
They’re fast. They’re skilled. They throw the puck around.
The Flying Euros play the kind of hockey that almost justifies Bell Centre ticket prices.
Several callers to CKAC after the game offered three words: "Kostitsyn là … Wow!"
Pleks and friends present insurmountable problems for for a team like Boston, with its sluggish, lead-footed defence corps, wall-eyed with terror as they skate backwards under the onslaught. Ottawa will be a more interesting challenge.
One more sleep …